Impressive helmet masks abound in the region spanning the present-day national borders of Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Sculptors carve works intended to incite fear by making visual references to powerful animals, including crocodiles, warthogs, and antelopes. The aggressive imagery artists create in helmet masks like this one contrasts with their more delicate handling of kpeliye'e face masks. Not associated with any single animal, kponyugo helmet masks foster spectators' uncertainty and apprehension. The mask's open jaws and sharp teeth appear ready to devour its prey and thus visually underscore its ferocity. Members of poro and other fraternal associations in the region don composite helmet masks and full-body outfits during funerals and on other occasions to punish human lawbreakers and deter malevolent spirits. Due to the aggressive and combative nature of the helmet masks and their performances, women and children are enjoined to avoid seeing them, a stricture honored due to the costly consequences that transgressions precipitate.
This item comes with a signed and stamped certificate confirming its authenticity. All our lots are appraised and checked by Jos Humblet. Mr. Humblet (°1954, Brussels) graduated in 1978 as Master of Art at St. Lukas in Brussels. From 1978 until 1993 he worked at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, where he specialised in formal analysis of works of art. Mr. Humblet started collecting tribal art in 1980 and became a dealer in 1995, specialising in art from Kongo, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
All items are packed with the utmost care and shipped insured with DHL Express.
- Kponyugo Mask
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Region/ country
- Ivory Coast
- Mid 20th century
- Good condition, used with some signs of wear
- Sold with stand
- 46×17×22 cm